Consumer Reports unlikes iPhone 4 because of hardware flaws

Consumer Reports has joined the cacophony of iPhone 4 critics, officially unrecommending the phone for purchase after meticulously testing the device in one of their doo-dad testing labs.

A blog post today on confirms the reception/signal bars issue that Apple initially denied when reports of the flaw first surfaced:

It’s official. Consumer Reports’ engineers have just completed testing the iPhone 4, and have confirmed that there is a problem with its reception… Due to this problem, we can’t recommend the iPhone 4.

While iPhone 4’s other capabilities helped keep it at the top of the recommended smartphone listings for the consumer rights magazine, the actual making phone calls part is still a sticking point. Consumer Reports also mildly chided Apple for being not exactly forthcoming as to the true scope of the hardware deficiency:

Our findings call into question the recent claim by Apple that the iPhone 4’s signal-strength issues were largely an optical illusion caused by faulty software that “mistakenly displays 2 more bars than it should for a given signal strength.”

The tests also indicate that AT&T’s network might not be the primary suspect in the iPhone 4’s much-reported signal woes.

The news isn’t all bad if you’re really, really into your new iPhone- testing also confirmed that a case or bumper will correct the problem. (The post actually suggests duct tape, which is kind of funny because can’t you just see all the aesthetophiles who purchase brand spanking new Apple products wrapping them up in duct tape?) But unless Apple relents on its decision not to give away bumpers or otherwise provides a fix where the onus isn’t on the consumer, Consumer Reports does not recommend dropping your hard-earned smartphone dough on the iPhone 4.